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At Chamberlayne College for the Arts, we are working hard to promote our students’ literacy and ensure they all achieve to the very best of their ability.  Students are encouraged to read widely and often. Literacy is fundamental to every academic subject.  Consequently, we believe that all teachers, parents and students have a role to play in supporting and developing students’ literacy skills.  Our aim, therefore, is to ensure students can communicate effectively in today’s highly judgmental and competitive society.

What can parents do to help?


  • Help your child to find books they will enjoy by joining a public library or by using our school library.

  • Ask your child to find something out for you by reading a newspaper article or webpage.

  • Get your child to skim read a recipe and tell you the basic steps.

  • Encourage your child to work out what an unfamiliar word means by getting them to read the rest of the sentence or paragraph and look for clues.

  • Ask your child to read you a report from a newspaper regarding their favourite football team or sportsman.

  • If there are magazines that reflect an area of interest, then taking out a subscription is not a bad idea.

  • Graphic novels and comics can often engage even the most reluctant of readers.


  • Test your child when they have spellings to learn, and encourage them to look up definitions of unfamiliar vocabulary.

  • Ask your child to write the shopping list or To Do list for you.

  • Allow your child to write cards, invitations, emails and letters, so writing for different purposes becomes second nature.

  • Dictate a few lines from a story or newspaper article to your child, then check their spelling.

  • You’re both a model and a teacher, so ensure your child sees you writing at home. Let your child see you writing notes to friends, letters to business firms, perhaps stories to share with the children. From time to time, read aloud what you have written and ask your child their opinion of what you’ve said. If it’s not perfect, so much the better. Making changes in what you write confirms for the child that revision is a natural part of writing, which it is.

  • Be as helpful as you can in helping your child write. Talk through their ideas with them; help them discover what they want to say. When they ask for help with spelling, punctuation and usage, supply that help. Your most effective role is not as a critic, but as a helper.

  • Provide a suitable place for children to write. A quiet corner is best for focused, uninterrupted work.

  • Ensure your child has the correct equipment; an A4 writing pad, a selection of pens and pencils and post-it notes or a rough book (for trying out spellings before asking for help).

  • Dictionary work is an important part of lessons at school and your child has been given a dictionary by Uxbridge High School. A thesaurus is also very helpful.


Accelerated Reader

  • All students in Year 7, 8 and 9 participate in Accelerated Reader and have a dedicated ‘AR’ lesson once a week.

  • Accelerated Reader helps students to become more able readers by encouraging reading for pleasure and ensuring that all students are reading texts that are of an appropriate level for their age and skill set. Students are encouraged to choose and read books within their reading level before taking an online quiz to determine how much they understood and can remember. Students win points for completing their chosen books and passing their quizzes, which add together towards their target points total each term. After the introduction of Accelerated Reader in 2015, we saw a dramatic rise in the number of students reading for pleasure, and significant improvements in reading proficiency.

  • The Accelerated Reader scheme states that for the best results, students should be reading for 25 – 30 minutes every day. To help you find books at the right reading level for your child, click here


Weekly Literacy Focus

  • To ensure all our students have the skills they need to be effective communicators, we have a whole school literacy focus that changes each week. These foci cover a range of grammar topics and are used to help develop our students’ ability to write clearly and cohesively.


The Word of the Week

  • Our ‘Word of the Week’ helps students to develop their vocabulary and develop a love for language by exposing them to all sorts of weird and wonderful words. The ‘Word of the Week’ is used during tutor time and in lessons by teachers, and students are encouraged to use it too!


Improving Literacy through Feedback

  • Years of educational research suggests that one of the best ways to improve students’ skills is through effective feedback. At Chamberlayne College, all subjects offer students feedback on their literacy, as well as suggestions on how to improve their spelling, grammar, punctuation and essay writing skills. Activities during lesson time regularly offer students opportunities to become better communicators.

  • If you have any further questions or would like any advice on supporting your child with literacy at home, please contact us